31 January 2013

Mixed Vegetable Kurma

Kurma or korma is a popular Indian gravy dish. A mixed vegetable kurma is a gravy cooked in coconut milk with mild spices. The taste of this kurma varies from region to region.

I would like to share a typical Kerala style korma with my readers.This is one curry I make often as kids too love it. And I am happy they are getting their dose of vitamins and carbohydrates.


1. Cauliflower - 3 cups cut into florets (approx 1/2 a medium cauliflower)
    Oil - 2 tbsp

2. Carrot - 2 cups pealed and cut into 1 inch pieces
    Potato - 2 cups pealed and cut into 1 inch pieces
    Water - 2 cups 
    Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1 1/4 tsp
    Coriander Powder - 1 1/4 tsp
    Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
    Salt - as required
    Frozen Peas - 1 cup

3. Onion - 1 cup finely chopped tightly packed
   Ginger Paste - 1 tsp
   Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
   Green Chilly - 2 slit into 2
   Tomato - 1 cup finely chopped tightly packed
   Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp
   Pepper - 1/4 tsp
   Oil - 2 tbsp

4. Coconut Milk - 3 cups
    Cornflour- 1 1/2 tbsp
    Water - 1/4 cup

5. Curry Leaves - 2 sprigs, stripped 15 leaves


Separate and remove cauliflower florets from stem. Dip them in lukewarm water with salt and turmeric. Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes. Remove,wash and use.

Cook the carrots and potatoes adding 2 cups water,turmeric, coriander, chilly powder and salt.
When the vegetables are almost cooked add the frozen peas. Cook for 1 minute.Keep aside.

In a pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and saute the cauliflower for approximately 1 1/2 minutes. Keep stirring.
Remove and transfer it to a plate.
In the same pan add 2 tbsp oil. Saute the onion, chilly, ginger garlic paste.
Add in the tomato and saute it.
Tip in the garam masala and pepper powder.
Stir well and add in the cooked vegetables (including the cauliflower). Add the coconut milk.
Season to taste with salt. Turn the heat to very low.
In 1/4 cup cold water, blend the cornflour into a smooth paste and add to the vegetable mixture.
Simmer and cook until the gravy is thick and vegetables tender. Switch off and garnish with curry leaves.

To clean cauliflower from insects you need to completely submerge the florets in salted water with turmeric (approx 1/2 tsp).
If you are using fresh peas cook them separately with salt.

20 January 2013

Thalassery Mutton Biryani

If you are from Kerala or have visited Kerala, you will know it is famous for the most variety of biryanis. Biryanis are made with chicken, mutton, beef, prawns, vegetables, tapioca and even mussels. I really missed going to the Mappila Food Fest at Kozhikode (Calicut). I heard that there were about 100 delicacies from the Malabar region. Some of items being rare varieties of food that are not known to the present generation and slowly disappearing.

Thalassery (my home town) a city in the Malabar Coast of Kerala is famous for biryani. The city of 3 C's (Cakes, Cricket and Circus).The best part about this biryani is you won't see a lot of masala in it but it tastes too good.

Serves approx 14 adults

For the ghee rice:
Short grain rice / Jeera Rice / Neychottari - 8 cups
Ghee - 4 tbsp
Water - 16 1/4 cup
Cloves/ Grambu - 5
Cinnamon/ Patta - 2" three pieces
Cardamom/ Elakka - 3
Mace/ Jatipathri - 4
Fennel Seeds/ Perumjeerakam  - 2 tbsp
Star Anise/ Thakkolam- 2
Nutmeg /Jathikka - 1/4 piece

For marination:
Mutton - 2 kg
Ginger paste - 2 tbsp
Garlic Paste - 2 tbsp
Green Chilly - 10 * see notes 1
Lime - juice of 1 medium size lime
Salt - as required

For masala:
Onion - 1 kg
White Poppy Seeds / Khus -Khus - 2 tbsp
Cashew - 200 g
Curd - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp

Onion - 2 cups thinly sliced
Cashew - 100g
Kismis - 150g
Coriander Leaves - 1 1/2cup loosely packed
Pudina Leaves - 1 cup loosely packed
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Oil - for deep frying onions
Rose water - 4 tbsp


Chop mutton into medium size pieces.
Chop the chillies roughly and pound it or grind it to a paste.
Marinate the mutton with chilly paste, ginger garlic paste, salt and lime. Mix well using your hands. Marinate for 1/2 hour.

Preparation of Ghee Rice:
Wash and strain the rice.
Measure 16 1/4 cup water in a pan and boil it along with the spices - Cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Mace, Cumin Seeds, Star Anise and Nutmeg. Add  salt.
In the meantime, in a  non stick pan heat the ghee.
Fry the cashews on low flame till they turn golden brown. Switch off the flame. Add in the kismis. Stir and fry till they bloat up. Transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen roll.
Switch on the flame. In the same ghee fry the rice for 5 minutes. Keep stirring.
Strain and pour in the boiling water into the rice. Stir once slowly. Check salt and close tightly. Lower flame to medium low. The rice will be done in 10-15 minutes. You will see craters formed on top. 
Switch off the flame. Fluff up the rice after 2-3 minutes.

Preparing the masala:
Transfer the khus-khus into a small sieve. Hold it under running water to wash it. Soak it.
Chop the onions into thin slices.
Heat oil and ghee in a medium size pressure cooker. Tip in the onions. Fry them till they turn translucent. 
Add in the marinated mutton. Check salt. Close the cooker.
Reduce the flame to medium low. Cook until you hear 3 whistles of the cooker. *See notes 2
Meanwhile grind the cashew and couscous into a fine paste.
Once the mutton is well cooked open the cooker and add the cashew paste along with curd. Check salt.
Mix well and let it boil for 2 minutes on high flame. Stir in between.
When the mutton mixture has become thick switch off the flame.

Chop the onions into very thin slices.
Heat oil in a small kadai /wok.
When the oil is hot fry the onions 1 cup at a time.* see notes 3
Transfer it to a colander. 
Chop the mint leaves and coriander leaves fine.
Use the same pan used to make rice. Grease the base with little ghee.
Switch on the flame to low.
Put a layer of the mutton masala at the bottom.
Now a layer of ghee rice. 
Sprinkle garam masala, cashew, raisns, coriander leaves, mint leaves and fried onions.
Continue to layer in the same way.
Sprinkle with rose water.
Once done close the pan with tight fitting lid and place a heavy object or an inverted mortar on it.* see notes 4
Let it cook for 15 minutes. Remove lid and check if you can see steam coming up from the biryani. Switch off the flame.
Fluff up the rice a bit and start serving from one side of the pan.
Serve it with mint chutney, raitha, pickle and pappad.

Cooking tips:
1.This is a medium spicy biryani. If the above said number of chillies are not added the biryani becomes too sweet due to the cashews and onions. You can increase the number depending on tolerance level.

2. There is no need to add any water while cooking mutton as the water comes out of the mutton and the onions. But do not be tempted to cook on high flame else it may get burnt.

3. For frying onions make sure you slice it very thin. I slice it in my Philips Food Processor (HL 1659) which makes it so easy to slice it real thin and evenly, all in seconds. Add 1 cup at a time. Stir once you see the tips of the onions start to turn golden. You have to be on the watch as it will get burnt easily. Once it turns golden remove and transfer to a colander.

4.Keeping a mortar is an easier way of  making dum biryani. You can also make a dough out of 
all purpose flour and seal the lid of the pan. 

13 January 2013

Kaaya Halwa / Kerala Banana Halwa - Celebrating 2 years of Blogging

Greetings to all my dear readers!! I am a few days late but I am glad to celebrate my blogs anniversary and New Year with you all. This small space of mine has reached new heights and all this would not have been possible without your support. :) It gives me a real high when someone tells me they read my blog. And what I treasure the most is the people I have met and the new friends I made. I wish to thank each one of you and hope I can live up to your expectations regarding the recipes I post. Really sorry for the delay in between posts. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will come back soon and often.

So here is my recipe for the celebrations along with a sneak peak into what made my blog popular in the year 2012. 

The recipe for today is quite an easy one. A very country style Kerala dessert. A quick one which can be made to please guests at home.

Recipe source - Vanitha

Nendran Banana - 1 kg
Milk - 1/2 litre
Sugar - 500g
Ghee - 100g
Cardamom powdered - 4 crushed to a powder
Cashew - a few for garnishing
Kismis - a few for garnishing

Steam the bananas without peeling the skin in an idly vessel / microwave oven.* see notes
Peel the cooked bananas and grind it to a fine paste along with milk and sugar.
Heat ghee on medium flame in a non stick wok till it melts. Fry the cashews and kismis. Using a slotted spoon remove it and transfer it to a plate lined with kitchen roll.
In the same pan with ghee add the ground mixture and keep stirring.
It has to be stirred till it thickens. The right consistency can be checked by taking a small portion and rolling it in between your thumb and forefinger. It should not stick to your fingers. You should be able to roll it into a ball.
Tip in the cardamom powder. Mix well.
Transfer it to a greased bowl. Garnish with nuts and kismis.

Cooking tips:
1. Use ripe nendran variety bananas only. It should have brownish black spots on it and soft on touch.
2. If you are cooking the banana in a microwave oven, cut off the top and bottom ends and make 3 pieces of each banana. Place it on a microwave safe plate and cook for 2 -3 minutes depending on the ripeness of the banana. You can check in between. If it has become really soft then it is done.
3. If you are steaming it in an idly pot or any wide vessel add about 2 glasses of water. Place the base or a grill with a stand. Once the water starts boiling place the whole bananas on it and close the lid. Steam for 5-10 minutes on high flame till it is soft and well cooked. The cooking time depends on how ripe the bananas are. Remove from steamer and peel off the skin to use.

So here is a sneak peak into the Top 10 Posts in the year 2012. Enjoy!!

And to top the list the post with maximum page views - 6500 page views is
Easy Kalathappam in a Pressure Cooker

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!! Welcoming this new year with smiles on our faces and hopes in our heart. Wishing lots of good food and cheer this year.. :)